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eat right

We just bid farewell to Diwali this year. New year is around the corner too and soon its going to be raining parties again. While you may be checking on your diet to fit into that tiny black dress and party hard, you certainly would not want the night to turn out to be the “spoiler” of all the efforts you have made so far.

Find below few tips that you may follow to eat right at a party and ensure that you do not spend the next day only repenting or curing the hangover. In short, here’s how you can have the cake and eat it too!

1. Eat at home before you leave- In my line of work, I often see my clients skipping their lunch for an impending evening party. Not only should you avoid skipping your meals during the day, but also ensure you eat before leaving. Eating a small snack of nuts, cheese toast or a wholesome meal of dal rice, roti sabzi at home beforehand will mean you’re arriving at the party satisfied already, not starving. The buffet usually has so many food and drink options that if you go in hungry, you’re doomed.

2. Drinking wise- Eat good fats like cheese, paneer, peanuts, olives etc. or fried starters along with your drinks. Having food in the stomach will help slow the processing of alcohol and will also help to form a thin lining in the stomach to digest the alcohol easily and prevent you from having a bad hangover the next day.

3. Stay hydrated and take it slow- To pace yourself, have no more than one standard drink per hour, with water as “drink spacers” between your alcoholic drinks. Note that for every person, no matter his size, it takes about 1 hour for the liver to completely digest one standard drink. Sipping on your drink slow and staying well hydrated, keeps the liver from being overloaded; it enables a person to maintain a safe blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and achieve the social relaxation effect that most people desire.

4. Eat before you sleep- Make sure you do eat your dinner and not hit the sack empty stomach. Pick any two items for your main meal from the laid on spread. Stay away from dips, sauces, chips, munchies etc and choose more wholesome options like biryani raita, roti-paneer sabzi, pulao-curd etc. Eat dessert, if you wish, 45 mins to 1 hour after your main meal.

5. Be mindful- Concentrate on your meal while you are eating it. Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the taste, aroma and texture of each item. Research shows that multitasking during mealtime (whether at home or at a party) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth. Of course, dinner-party conversation is only natural and important too, but it will be a good idea to set your food down until you are finished chatting so you are more aware of what you are taking in.

6. Starting right the next day- Start your day with glass of water boiled with 1-2 strands of saffron (kesar). Drink it on an empty stomach while still warm. Follow it with a banana and a teaspoon of gulkand (rose petal jam) This will help cleanse or detox your system, and prevent or cure headaches or hangovers if any.

 

7. Up your fluid intake- Since alcohol consumption causes dehydration, one tends to get dry mouth, tiredness, headache, dizziness, light headedness etc. the next day. Do consume fluids like sugarcane juice, coconut water, kokum sherbet liberally throughout the next day to ensure you are rehydrated well.

Stay happy and healthy.

Happy Partying!

Unsure about the right diet for you? Are you torn between what you’d love to eat and what you hear is unhealthy for you? Sign up for a one-on-one nutrition & diet consultation with leading Mumbai dietitian Munmun Ganeriwal

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Mindfulness in eating: experience the bliss of well-being

The last few years have seen the concept of mindfulness gain rapid traction, from corporate board rooms to sports teams. At its core, it is a very simple philosophy that should apply to every walk of life. Therefore, the need for mindful eating shouldn’t really be a surprise if you really think about it. We’re sure most of us have grown up listening to parents scolding us for watching TV, reading comics, or talking while eating. I am sure you remember being told, No distractions while eating!. Without ever realizing it, that was an implicit order to practice mindful eating, something which we seem to have given up on in current times.

Before we delve deeper into why mindfulness is as important while eating as it is for better productivity, let’s understand the essence of this ‘modern buzzword’. According to ancient Zen Philosophy, mindfulness is simply “presence” and it is probably the simplest form of meditation there is. It is about being immersed completely in the present moment and being fully aware of it.

Unfortunately, we now seem to be always racing against time, with our minds full rather than being mindful. As we multi-task our way through life, pre-occupied by numerous thoughts and worrying about either the past or the future, focusing on just one thing at a time seems like a terrible waste of time. How wrong could we be?

Mindful eating

That brings us to eating. When people speak of healthy eating, the focus is generally on what we eat – the constituents of a meal and their nutritional value. What tends to get ignored often is how we eat. Welcome to mindful eating and its role in delivering the full benefits of the food we eat. According to Psychology Today, “mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. We pay attention to the colors, smells, textures, flavors, temperatures, and even the sounds (crunch!) of our food. We pay attention to the experience of the body. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction? What does half-full feel like, or three quarters full?”

Benefits of Mindful Eating

Several modern studies have brought to the fore the ‘mind & gut connection’ and the resultant benefits of simply focusing on eating. It is not difficult to understand why.

  • Prevents overeating/binge eating: If you eat mindfully, you are more likely to avoid overeating as you are fully aware of the quantity of food you are putting in your month. In turn, this means you are more likely to listen to the “full” signal coming back from your tummy! (Have you ever wondered why we tend to end up eating a lot more than we normally would at parties? It’s all thanks to the divided attention!). If you want to lose weight or are conscious of gaining weight, you know how important it is to not overeat.
  • Better digestion & absorption of nutrients: When we are fully focused on the food we eat,our salivary glands work better. This aids digestion enormously. Also, we tend to slow down the pace of eating – we eat more leisurely, chewing the food well and ensuring that the important first stage of the digestive process is completed properly in the mouth. By ‘breaking down’ the food in the mouth, we enable much better absorption of all nutrients.
  • Greater satisfaction and fulfillment: The undivided attention on the food helps us truly enjoy and appreciate its look, feel, fragrance and flavours. Isn’t such sensory fulfillment a great source of joy? Mindful eating invariably translates to joyfulness!

How to Practise Mindful Eating for Greater Fulfillment

The important word is conscious ‘practise’, as this is a process of creating and reinforcing a habit while (in many cases) altering an existing habit. Many of you would be familiar with the principle of auto-suggestion while practicing meditation or breathing exercises in Yoga. We should follow something similar to becoming mindful: tell yourself to experience every step of the journey of the food from the plate to the stomach. Don’t just take in the food, take in the entire eating process and enjoy it, slowly, leisurely.

You can become better at this by following some of the following steps:

  • Sit in a clutter-free dining area, whether it is at the dining table or on the floor. Avoid the bed or the couch while eating.
  • Try to close your eyes and visualize the food on your plate before you start eating. In our Indian culture, people close their eyes and say a silent prayer and express their gratitude. The attitude of gratitude is a key ingredient to our happiness; besides, this entire process of calming our mind and visualizing the food stimulates our brain to prepare for the digestion process!
  • Turn off the television, keep the reading material and mobile phones away. Whatsapp messages and Facebook can (and must) wait!
  • Pause for a few seconds after each morsel/bite of food. Take smaller portions, chew well and eat slowly.
  • For a sensuous, intimate and mindful connect with your food, eat with your hands, not the fork and spoon.

So, there you go. Mindful eating is not too difficult to practice, if you set your mind to it. Make a few simple changes to your eating routine and experience the true joy of eating. It’s an age-old wisdom that is rooted deep in Indian culture and philosophy, and let’s ensure we heed that wisdom to enjoy all its benefits!

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

References & other articles related to mindful eating

Mindful Eating: How to really enjoy your meal, Jan Chosen Bays, Psychology Today

A Mindfulness Approach To Eating, Dr. Susan Albers, Huffington Post

Mindful Eating, Harvard Health Letter

Image Credit – Google Images

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5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Get Their Diet Right- Diet for Entrepreneurs

NOTE- I had written this article for Entrepreneur India & it was published on 23rd June 2017. Read on…

According to the ancient Indian philosophy of Yoga, the ‘Annamaya kosha’ (our physical body) and our ‘Mana’ (mind) is a direct reflection of the ‘Anna’ (food) we eat. Fascinating new researchers agree with this ancient philosophy and is now telling us that what we eat, how we eat and at what time, all affect our body and brain, deciding not only how we look but also how well we can take decisions, execute plans, basically our cognitive performance.

Getting their ‘diet’ right hence is crucial for Entrepreneurs to balance the risk/reward, flowchart growth, crack deals, meet deadlines, plan strategies and look presentable all at a time.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” So says Walt Disney and so I shall straight away list out a 5-points ‘Eat Right Action Plan’

1. Wake up to ‘real’ food

“A good beginning makes a good ending”, says an Italian proverb. Starting off your day right is crucial for entrepreneurs as it will keep you high on energy and light on your feet all day. Most of us love to have our cup of tea/ coffee the first thing in the morning, almost like an everyday romance: fingers hugging the hot cup of fresh brew close to the lips, taking in each sip with all the aroma and warmth it offers. But sorry to burst your bubble, tea/ coffee is not the best drink as you wake up.

Tea/ coffee, of any variety it may be, has caffeine in it. Studies suggest that caffeine triggers release of cortisol (also called ‘stress’ hormone). A big bump in cortisol puts your body in a ‘stress’ mode and slows down metabolism, breaks down muscle, hampers fat burning, increases blood pressure etc. This ‘stress rush’ is part of the reason why we feel ‘awake’ or ‘alert’ after our morning cuppa.

While we sleep, all our body processes slow down. As we wake up, the body systems also need time to wake up and start functioning in its full capacity. In such situation, it is better to eat ‘real’ food that is easy on it v/s something that will further load or stress it out.

Action Plan (1) – Start your day with a fruit/ dry fruits/ handful of nuts or hot homemade breakfast within half an hour of waking up. Post this meal, you can enjoy your morning cup of tea/ coffee.

2. Planning meals ahead–

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” said Benjamin Franklin. Everyone in business knows that planning helps prevent crisis so that you spend less time firefighting and stay ahead of the game.

Similarly, if you do not want to be caught up in food crisis/ accidents (like gorging on a pastry at 6pm when you had just decided to eat healthier in the morning), you need to be planning ahead for your meals.

Eating small, frequent meals every 2-3 hours gives a slow, sustained release of blood sugar which in turn keeps your mind alert and body energetic through the day without feeling the need for stimulants like tea/ coffee/ cigarettes.

Action Plan (2) – Plan for your lunch and evening snack (between 4-6pm) in advance. For mid meals, nuts, dry fruits, chana, fruits, yoghurt, cheese slice, coconut water, nimbu sherbets are great options.

3. Local food, global spirit –

Indian entrepreneurs, today are going global like never before. For an undying global spirit, what we must stay true to is eating local.

Eating local and seasonal foods is good for your health, supports the local economy and benefits the environment at large. Whereas eating foods from far off places, industrialized and packaged, adds inches to your waist line, hampers work productivity and will negatively affect your bottom line.

Action Plan (3) – Replace the cookies/ biscuits in meetings with peanuts/ cashews, aerated drinks/ colas with buttermilk/local sherbets, cakes/ pastries with chikki/ laddoo/ dates etc.

4. Add ghee to your meals

Ever wondered what the traditional business communities (Marwaris/ Gujaratis/ Parsis/ Sindhis) of India eat in common? It’s the GHEE. Ghee being rich in omega 3 boosts brain power and improves memory and cognitive function. Its unique SCFA accelerates fat burning giving you a younger body and sharper mind.

Action Plan (4) – Make sure you have at least 1 tsp of ghee or white butter each with breakfast/ lunch/ dinner.

5. Keep a 2 hours gap between dinner & bedtime

Eating a wholesome dinner that is not close to bedtime will allow enough time for digestion to occur, induce sound sleep and reduce the chance of waking up tired, bloated or acidic the next morning. In short, you would be all set to take the busy day head on!

Action Plan (5) – Choose between dinner options like curd rice, rice & dal/ sambhar, khichdi, appam & stew etc and have it 2-3 hours before you go to bed.

The founder of modern management, Peter Drucker, says- “Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.” So much like ‘Eating Right’, a practise that only leads to good health and happiness!

IMAGE CREDIT – Entrepreneur India/ Shutterstock.com

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